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Enochian (language)

From Thelemapedia

Enochian is an occult (angelic) language introduced by Dr. John Dee and Sir Edward Kelly in the 16th Century. Dee and Kelly claimed that it was revealed to them by angels.

Angels would be evoked by Dee into a crystal "shew stone" resting upon the Enochian Table of Practice Kelly, the more experienced scryer, would observe the angelic visions that ensued.

The language appears slightly inflected and has a word order that closely approximates English, although Enochian appears to lack both a definite or indefinite article. The language also appears to possess some characteristics common to agglutinating languages, such as the collapse of multiple lexical units into single words. Enochian's small vocabulary makes it difficult to assess the significance of apparent inflection in noun and verb forms. The linguist Donald Laycock has speculated that these possible inflections represent merely random variations in word forms and lack any syntactic significance, but this is simply informed speculation.

Enochian possesses its own alphabet which can also be transliterated into the Latin alphabet. Unlike most phonetic alphabets, the names of the Enochian letters appear to have very little to do with the pronounciation of the letters. Indeed, the total number of characters composing the Enochian letter names enumerates to 64, a perfect square. Given the importance of square tables in the derivation of many Enochian words, it is possible that this fact is not a coincidence but is instead indicative of some hidden cypher underlying the composition of the letter names.

Several words have rather intimidating consonant clusters; they are pronounced by inserting a vowel, e.g. "nazpsad" is pronounced "nazepesad". Other words consist entirely of vowels. Several systems of pronunciation exist. The Golden Dawn and Aleister Crowley favored system mimics the pronounciation of Hebrew by associating an implicit vowel sound with every consonant not immediately apposed to another vowel. Donald Laycock believed that Enochian pronounciation more closely approximates that of English.

Most of the vocabulary consists of names of angels derived from four acrostic tablets. Besides that, there are fewer than 1000 attested words, which appear in 19 symbolic poems, called "keys". Dee's use of the keys is not entirely clear, although one key, the 19th, appears to lead to visions of 30 "aethers" or dimensions.

Enochian, and the magical system that Dee and Kelly based on it, were incorporated by Aleister Crowley as part of his popular and influential system. It is also popular in Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, from which Crowley learned it, and in the Aurum Solis.

A notable student of Enochian at the turn of the 21st Century was the late Benjamin Rowe[1] ( a.k.a. "Josh Norton," a self-taught ceremonial magician who authored many papers on the use of Dee and Kelley's magical system. Rowe's work is widely respected among Enochian magicians but is also highly idiosyncratic, and relies heavily on the qabalistic speculations of Charles Stansfeld Jones.

See also


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